Laptop Batteries & Liquid Spills

As most of you know laptops, electronics and liquids don’t mix. Unless your notebook or laptop is waterproof, there is a risk of structural damage or fire due to liquid spills. Unlike older laptops that had an easily removable battery, newer notebooks now come with internal batteries. So, you cannot easily take out the battery in the event of a liquid spill. Since liquids can pass electricity, they can create a connection between electrical components normally separated by insulation. This is what causes damage to electrical components, including the battery. 

Recently, we have seen an increase of laptops coming in with structural damage from batteries on the verge of bursting from neglected liquid spills (See battery image below). While some notebooks come equipped with safety mechanisms to prevent fire from liquid spills, it’s better not to wait and find out what happens should that safety mechanism fail. That’s why we strongly recommend that you have your laptop checked by a computer professional as soon as possible.

Liquid spill can cause a short circuit in laptop batteries. This damages the insulation that helps to regulate how batteries store and discharge electricity, which then accelerates the chemical reaction that produces oxygen. In a nutshell, the accelerated chemical reaction in batteries releases gas too fast, causing the battery to swell up. You may notice that your touch pad or some keys on the keyboard won’t go down all the way when you push on them. You may also hear what some describe as a “simmering” or “hissing” sound. Do not keep your laptop plugged in at that point. Take your laptop to your local repair shop as soon as possible to prevent any further damage to you or your device.

Swollen Laptop Battery vs Normal Laptop Battery

Although technology has come a long way to prevent major mishaps, it’s always a good idea to error on the side of safety in the event of liquid spills on electronics, whether it’s a phone, laptop, or a desktop computer. Using the wrong, or cheap charger can also damage laptop batteries and cause them to swell up. The indication for this type of damage is that the battery may no longer hold a charge well while the laptop is relatively new.  So, if you need to have your laptop’s battery replaced, feel free to contact us through our website or through our Facebook page. We are here to help.

On that note, we hope you found this information useful. If you did, pass it along to friends or family members who can benefit from this information.

Safety & Service Guidelines

We are open

We are open! If you need your computer fixed to help you stay connected to your work, school, or to make these challenging times a bit more bearable – we are here for you! With ongoing nationwide efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19, we are all required to implement social distancing and sanitation guidelines referenced in Proclamation 20-25 by Governor Jay Inslee, as well as the guidelines from the CDC.

While we are allowed to stay open to serve you, we all have a responsibility to interact in a manner that prevents the spread of COVID-19. So here is what we are doing to create a safe environment for your computer service visit:

  • We have been doing service by appointment only to promote social distancing
  • We have been wiping down our door handles and counter tops after every visit
  • We have been implementing quick drop off and quick pick up procedures
  • After service, we thoroughly wipe down and sanitize your equipment before returning it to you
  • If you don’t feel comfortable coming inside, we can meet you outside to receive or return your equipment.

We care

Service Guidelines

As we do our part to fight this common enemy (COVID19), we are implementing new measures to help protect our customers, ourselves and our service space.  We have always been a customer focused and customer service oriented computer repair shop. Nothing has changed about that – except that now we also have the responsibility to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases like the coronavirus. With that in mind, if you are considering bringing your computer in for service – here are our new service guidelines:

  • Please stay home if you are not feeling well and seek medical care if needed
  • Please call first and schedule your appointment to help us promote social distancing
  • Wipe down and sanitize your equipment before drop off
  • Plan ahead – write down a brief description of the computer problem you are having and also include the necessary login info if any
  • Please give us a call if you have any questions or if there is anything service related you would like to discuss. This will help us keep any contact in person to a minimum during these challenging times

Stronger Together

We know that many of you are already taking the necessary precautions. But as we adjust and try to come to terms with the reality of COVID19, we may all need a reminder from time to time to take the necessary actions to protect each other. So we hope these guidelines serve as that reminder. By following these guidelines you help us create a clean exchange of service and also help us restore the type of confidence that we all need to revive our local economy. Thank you for your support!

Stronger Together

Our Service Changes Due To COVID-19

In response to the recommendations by the CDC, health and elected officials, we will be changing our normal service routine to help stop the spread of COVID-19. While we are committed to providing the best possible service to our customers, we value the health of our customers, staff, families and community members even more. So, we cannot continue to do business as usual knowing how quickly the coronavirus can spread and knowing how it can impact those at high risk. Therefore, we are taking deliberate measures based on the CDC’s and the President’s guidelines to help mitigate the impact of COVID-19.

Since we are all in this together, we encourage you not to react in fear based on over sensationalized media. Choose your sources of information wisely. Take time to understand what this virus is, how it spreads and then take the necessary actions to protect yourself and your loved ones. With that being said, here are the following changes we will be making to our service process.

Stop The Coronavirus

Changes in Service & Business Hours

Per the CDC guidelines, if you are not feeling well, i.e. have flu like symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath etc. we ask that you stay home and seek the necessary treatment. If you have been around someone with mild to severe symptoms of COVID-19, we ask that you take the necessary actions to clear yourself as a carrier. This will help protect those at high risk who could be affected by proxy, if not by direct contact with a person who has the coronavirus. Otherwise, our services will be open to everyone else.     

  • As of March 18th, 2020 we will be going back to service by appointment only. Please call 360-773-3401 to schedule your appointment.
  • Our business hours will be subject to change, so please call ahead.
  • We will be suspending in-home services for now until further notice
  • We will be taking extra precautions to keep our shop safe for service by doing extra cleaning  

With these measures in place, we hope that we can create a safe environment where those who are well, and in need of our services can still come into our shop. It is not our intent to spread fear or limit anyone’s freedom by these measures. We are simply trying to do our part to help slow the spread of COVID-19. We appreciate your understanding through these changes. With each of us doing our part, we hope things will go back to normal soon. Thank you for your support!

Rogue Browser Extensions & Scams

Browser extensions are add-ons that people often use to improve the look and functionality of their web browser. However, among the good browser extensions, more rogue browser extensions seem to be popping up, and some users are installing them without realizing their potential risk to online privacy. In recent years, our computer repair shop has helped people who have been scammed through their phone or computer in some way. As we looked closely at each of the instance where someone was scammed, or almost got scammed – the common denominator in most of those cases was that the attacker knew something about the user’s recent online activities. Whether the user was trying to track a package, or contact support for an internet-based company – the attacker seemed to know enough information to come across to the user as legit. So, this raised the question of how the scammers were getting information about the user’s online activity?

Knowing the “how” is the key to preventing more scams of this nature. So, let us dive in.

Extensions Secretly Tracking Users Online

In the instances that we helped someone whose computer had been compromised, one thing that stood out is that the attacker seemed to know something about the user’s recent online activities. So, there had to have been a leak. What was interesting however was that there were no major threats on these computers –only a few seemingly innocent browser extensions.

Risky Browser Extensions

Digging further, I found that these browser extensions had permission to read the users search history, make changes to the user’s search settings, etc. With the right configuration, these rogue extensions could read or change your data on certain sites! Yet, some of the most commonly used computer protection software did not even flag these browser extensions as a potential risk. Anything the user searched for, or any sites that the user visited could be recorded by these rogue browser extensions. So, all it takes is having one of these malicious browser extensions to have an information leak! And that information in the wrong hands, with a bit of social engineering can be a source of trouble for unsuspecting computer users.

Malicious Extensions

Malicious browser extensions affect PCs and Apple (Mac)  computers alike. Mac users are not immune to this type of attack. Rogue browser extensions are a subtle type of threat that cyber criminals can use to collect data about the computer’s user without being obvious. Once an attacker has enough information about the computer’s user, they can usually execute a cunning confidence game on unsuspecting victims without raising any red flags.

The Solution

Not all browser extensions are malicious. You can find useful extensions that help you block ads for example, or help you lookup words. However, you have to do some research to find reputable browser extensions before you install them. On the other hand, rogue extensions are just trouble from the get go. They often pretend to be “useful” to the user in some way, while secretly collecting information about the user’s online activity. Sometimes they end up on the user’s browser through deception and they might remain unknown to the user until a computer whiz spots them.

If you suspect that you have rogue browser extensions, and you want to know how to get rid of unwanted extensions, check out our article on how to remove extensions. If you do not feel comfortable removing unwanted extensions by yourself, we encourage you to contact your local, trusted computer professional. They can help you remove the unwanted extensions and also help you configure your web browser’s privacy settings for better protection. If you found this information to be useful, pass it on. Thank you!

How To Remove Extensions

Unwanted Browser Extensions

Extensions are a type of web browser add-on that can add more functionality to your web browser. However, you might find yourself in a situation where a malicious Extension is installed on your web browser without your knowledge. In that case, it helps to know how to remove the unwanted Extension in order to protect your personal information. We have only chosen Google Chrome, Firefox, and Microsoft Edge for this how to. So without further ado, let’s dive into it.

Please keep in mind that the following “How-to-s” are based on the standard configuration for each browser at the time of writing this article. Please note: the Extensions shown in the images below are not to be considered malicious. We are simply using these Extensions for illustration purposes, nothing more. If you feel comfortable removing browser Extensions by yourself feel free to follow these instructions. Otherwise we recommend that you get help from a computer expert.

Depending on the browser, removing the Extension can be as simple as right clicking on the extension and clicking the remove option. If that doesn’t work, you can follow the instructions for your browser below.

How To Remove Extensions From Microsoft Edge

  1. Click on the three horizontal dots on the top right hand corner of Microsoft Edge to open the options menu as shown in the image below.
  2. Navigate to the Extensions option
  3. Choose from the list of Extensions which one you want to remove
  4. Click on the Extension to show more info and options for that browser Extension
  5. Locate the uninstall button and click on it to remove the unwanted Extension. A confirmation box will show up, so click on the OK to complete removing the unwanted browser Extension.

How To Remove Extensions From Google Chrome

  1. Click on the three vertical dots on the top right hand corner of Google Chrome to open the options menu. See image below.
  2. Navigate to “more tools” and then click on Extensions from the list of options which pops up when you hover over the more tools option. At this point, you should be presented with a list of tiles for the currently installed web browser Extensions.
  3. Select the Extension that you want to remove and click on remove.
  4.  A confirmation box will show up. Click on the remove button to remove the unwanted browser extension.

How To Remove Extensions From Mozilla Firefox

  1. Click on the menu bars on the top right hand corner of Firefox to open the options menu. See image below.
  2. Navigate to and click on Add-ons from the list of options.
  3. On the left of the next screen, click on Extensions if your browser does not automatically open the Extensions.
  4. Select the Extension you want to remove from the list of extensions.
  5. Click on the three horizontal dots on the right of the Extension tile to open the menu options for that Extension.
  6. Select and click on “Remove” from the Extension’s menu list.
  7.  A confirmation box will show up. Click on the remove button to remove the unwanted browser Extension.

As you remove these Extensions you will also have the option to report the Extension and give your feedback. We recommend that you take a few moments to report any malicious Extensions so that they can be blocked from each respective browser. Hope you found this information to be useful. If so, please share and help others stay in the know.