Microsoft Ransomware?


If you are one of the unfortunates who have lost all your files to the latest Windows 10 update, here is a possible fix. I have not tried it...

Please forgive the formatting issues on this website. Vistaprint is about the worst host out there, but no time to deal with the registries.

Also, there have been problems with all things internet, since the repeal of Net Neutrality. Vote Republican? Then you did it! Send me a check for $100,000, and then go play on the interstate! :-))

Notice: I am no longer fixing computers. Thank you very much for your interest.

7.21.18 ....

An inexpensive alternative to Windows

If all you need is an internet machine, Chromebooks are becoming more popular. 52/switching-to-a-chromebook-heres-what-you-need-to-know/

Some Windows 10 tips

As I said in my voice greeting, I no longer work on Windows 10 computers. But here is a quick copy of an email I sent to a customer. It has a few very helpful Windows 10 hints:

"On the bottom left of your keyboard is a "Windows" key. It looks like 4 little squares, kind of wavy. If you tap it at any time, you can get the start menu. Also, look here for some other shortcuts: 

Also, download and install "Classic Shell". It will make Windows 10 act more like the older versions of Windows.  Use the top most version:

Once it is installed, right click the Start button to find some more settings. (It's either "Properties" or "settings"), I like to make my start button look and act like Windows 7.

More Win 10 Disasters


NOTICE: Most everything I have posted about Windows 10 so far is now obsolete. I don't have time to go back and edit all this info. I could change the info here, but in another week or so, that could easily be obsolete as well. It's beginning to look as though some flavor of Linux will be the wave of the future.....


I recently posted that Windows 10 PRO would be a viable solution to the disastrous Microsoft updates. However....they must have heard me, because this has changed. I just disabled auto update on a Win 10 Pro machine, but it updated anyhow. I was able to salvage any damage.

The latest build DID allow me to defer updates for 35 days...which is a very good solution. 
I set multiple restore points.

My solution for customers suffering crashes after updates was to supply a rescue disk with instructions for a simple system restore.

But this is no longer a viable solution, since the latest MS updates have disabled system restore and deleted all the restore points.

Yes, you read that right.

At any rate....I CAN NO LONGER WORK ON WINDOWS 10 COMPUTERS. I may no longer even be able to roll back the operating system, since it has become such a chore to find old drivers for the new hardware

ALAS......It's an act of pure futility.

...although, I just found this:

Havn't tried it yet.

SORRY...I don't fix Macs...I'm a PC tech.

It's worth noting that since I said, "Buy a Mac" Macs have also become vulnerable to the Meltdown and Spectre processor flaws. 

This is the wild, wild west, and our stage coach just got robbed......

JUST A NOTE..... 2.28.18

I now take credit cards.  :-)

SIGH....Microsoft is at it again

2.15.18 I only said, "Buy a Mac" out of frustration.



If you need to buy a new computer, the best advice (in my opinion) is to buy a Mac. But this is exorbitant.

So the nest best advice is to spend the extra $100 or so and buy a Windows 10 PRO computer on which you can disable the automatic updates. Otherwise, you may spend the next few years suffering PC pain and torment.

BUT...Be aware that disabling automatic updates can leave you vulnerable...


You have probably heard about the Intel Security flaw by now. Hackers can gain access to your machine, thereby stealing your passwords, logins, and generally ruining your life. And of course, the chip makers have issued patches for these vulnerabilities.

The bad news is that these patches are frequently causing more problems than the huge slowdown that they warn us about…especially on AMD machines…some are actually being rendered unbootable.

(You can identify your processor by looking all over the physical computer. It will say “AMD” somewhere…)

Now I am confused as to how I should deal with these buggy patches. If I install the patch, I risk bricking my customers’ computers. If I don’t, I risk leaving them vulnerable.

On my own machine, I have denied these patches. I can do that because I still run Windows 7 Pro, Windows 10 Pro, and Windows 8.1.  I go into the control panel, Windows Update, Change Settings on left, and tell them to notify me, but don’t download or install.

Then I go back to scanning with ADWcleaner, Malwarebytes, RogueKiller, etc at least every week, and waiting for these people to get their acts together. I’m willing to take that chance.

(At the risk of broadcasting my own vulnerabilities....)

But right now I am working on a customer’s AMD machine, so what do I do?

If it’s anything but Windows 10 Home, I set their computers to only notify about the updates -warning them that they may be vulnerable, so scan for malware and change passwords frequently. I tell them to wait 2 weeks, create a restore point, and install the patches…(only IF they can live with the resulting performance slow down.)

With Windows 7, I then tell them to create an emergency boot flash drive, ("Recovery Drive")  download an ISO, install it on the flash drive, then boot to this flash drive…(this may involve changing the UEFI settings on post-Win 7 machines) …use a command prompt to do a system restore, and try again later.

Most of my customers are not quite that geeky. So all I can do is -  do it for them. I can set their system to boot to a legacy drive, buy some flash drives, create the disks, and supply them with instructions how to create restore points and do a system restore from the boot disk.

If you are running Widows 10 HOME, then all you can do is create restore points and pray. 

  1. Control Panel→System and Security. ...
  2. Click the System Protection link in the left panel.
  3. In the System Properties dialog box that appears, click the System Protection tab and then click the Create button. ...
  4. Name the restore point, and click Create.

Here's how to create your own recovery drive on windows 10 and 8.1:




UPDATE 1-18.......this post has been rendered obsolete by the recent processor problems. Disabling automatic updates can leave you  vulnerable. But keep in mind that enabling them can brick your machine. Best bet? Buy a Mac. Or buy Windows 1o PRO -- not HOME.


Microsoft is at it again. Its latest (October 2017) updates have wreaked even more destruction on people's computers...this time, they are wiping out your photos.

The above article offers a few potential solutions to the lost photo problem. It might or might not work.  I have not been able to duplicate this issue on my Win 10 test machine.  So far, all my updates have gone swimmingly. This, apparently, is an anomaly.

(But, back up your computer. OFTEN!  There is still no way to permanently disable these automatic updates on a Windows 10 Home computer.)

I am now suffering from outrage exhaustion.
Being thus abused by a huge corporation does not seem quite so egregious in the current political environment; it's more like the norm. So rather than rant and rage, my advice would be ....Get A Mac.

OR...i f you don't want to spend a fortune and months learning a new operating system, then your best bet is to roll back to Windows 7. MS has extended the end of support date - even on Skylake processors. So now Win 7 is perfectly safe until at least August of 2020, and you might be able to squeeze a little more time out of that.

And maybe by then, (Thus sayeth Pollyanna) MS will have banished the bugs from Win 10.

Even if your PC shipped with Win 8 or 10, you can install win 7; a license is not too expensive.these days.

And I will wipe out the old and install the new for $40. It might take a day or 2...mainly because of the many Win 7 updates.

(But you have to BACK UP YOUR DATA, and your apps will need to be reinstalled as well. )

With Win 7, you will be safe and back in business for at least 2 1/2 years.

(To call me:  Four four nine, one seven eight nine....)



I havn't used or recommended CCLEANER in almost 5 years - ever since I foolishly ignored my own good advice, and used its dangerous "Registry Cleaner"...thereby trashing my entire Win 7 install.  (I re-iterate: There is no such thing as a "Safe" registry cleaner!!)

But if you were tempted to install it, then here are some encouraging facts about the malware it has been delivering:

This malware only exists in the 32 bit version. Almost everyone runs 64 bit systems now, so most are safe from the hack. ALSO....it's only two of the later versions that are affected: 

CCleaner v. 5.33.6162 or CCleaner Cloud v. 1.07.3191

If you use CCleaner, Click the update link on the bottom right of the app interface. Then run ADW Cleaner and MalwareBytes   in that order. Specifically look for "Trojan: Floxif".



At the risk of sounding mildly treasonous, I came online to announce that Russians are - alas - smarter than us.  Way smarter. They were smarter in 1957 when they launched the first satellite, and they are still smarter now.

Our problem is that we are forced to be politically correct. For instance, if Putin doesn't like someone, he'll just make a phone call and have them arrested or killed.

We're not supposed to do that.

We do have some fantastically gifted geeks in this country. But many of them are pot-smoking, hippy-types who live in old tee shirts, so our government will not hire them. (Can't have folks like that running around Washington!)

Russian oligarchs could care less about such niceties. If you can bring down the enemy (eg: us) then bring it on.

So that brings us to Kaspersky Anti Virus Software

Some US officials see it as a huge fox guarding American hen houses.

I have to admit that I almost never find much malware on computers running this AV (Even though it is expensive in both financial and resource cost).  At least, I never find much malware that I am capable of finding. But some things like rootkits (coincidentally discovered by Russian Mark Russinovich) are notoriously difficult to validate.

Part of me feels very bad for Eugene Kaspersky, who is an amazing geek, and might just be at the mercy of his circumstances.

Or maybe not.



I had a long, witty post in mind, all about Windows 10 and the problems its has caused everyone - especially  techs. But after 48 hours of wrestling with Microsoft's latest problems, I am too tired to type.

Let it just be known that Windows 10 is not yet a viable operating system. One can spend hours, days, even weeks dealing with the problems that its MANDATORY updates have caused. But as soon as you fix one problem, Microsoft will release yet another onslaught of updates that will -very likely - crash the system again.

I don't charge if I can't fix something, and so far, nobody can (permanently) fix Windows 10. Here's hoping that some miracle happens, and Windows 10 will become something a sane person can actually use.


UPDATE 5-15  The patch is even available for Windows XP. Control Panel to Windows Update.

But the (of course!) Russian hackers are working on a work-around for the patch, so be careful)......

We have recently learned of a nasty new ransomware virus that's gong around. It's called WanaCrypt0r (WannaCry, WCry or WCrypt ) and it's infecting computers all over the world. It is installed via Phishing attacks, so don't trust  emails you get from sites claiming to be somebody with whom you do business. Never type in login info, etc, from within an email link. Go to the site from a new window.

Once you are infected with these ransomware attacks, you have pretty effectively lost everything on your hard drive. This bad guy has been demanding a $300 ransom in Bitcoin. But there is never any guarantee that they will unencrypt your files once they have received this money.

I generally tell people not to install Windows updates until a few weeks after they are first released. But the update that prevents this exploit came out over a month ago.



I get a lot of calls for broken laptop screens. I’m not doing screens anymore, because it has become too cumbersome: a laptop video problem might be caused by the LCD, or the inverter, or the cable, or the controller on the  motherboard…and I would have to order each part individually.

So I generally recommend my customers try one of the many online sites that do nothing but laptop video. (After first checking to see if it’s still under warranty!)

Another very helpful suggestion I share:  When you have a hardware problem on a machine that is over 1-2 years old, always go to eBay and type in the exact model. It might just be cheaper to get a new one and then port the old hard drive and RAM over. That will also leave you with extra parts just in case.

And good news: A customer just told me about this business in Freeport, ME. It’s called CCS (link)

They do just about everything that I am not set up to do. AND…they have drop off and pick up service. (!) 

Bad news: They charge between 3 and 4 times as much as I do, and I do very good work.

So if it's a convenience thing, then give them a call.

  (Link) Windows 10 enacted a feature that can help save your system from a catastrophic crash. You can now pause the inevitable mandatory update for 35 days. (See the previous link for instructions.)

You can only do this once per update, but I would recommend using this feature at all times. 35 days might be enough for Microsoft to patch any potentially dangerous updates.
Save us both some time



 I just bought some decent data recovery software, in case someone accidentally deletes something, or even (gasp) formats their hard drive and re-installs Windows.. Call me.

But first, here are some very good tips. If this happens,  DO NOTHING!   When you "delete" a file, you are not actually getting rid of it, you only remove the reference to that file in the file table. (Call it a "Table of Contents") The file does not actually disappear until you have written over it.

So, if you accidentally lose something, (and it's not in the recycle bin) do not write, surf, or save anything at all. Just turn off the computer and call me.  Four-four-nine-one-seven-eight-nine.



If your Windows 10 machine has crashed, read this (link) on your tablet, and contact me if you must. Godspeed! I just got



I've been forced to remove my phone number from this site, since I've been getting far too many robocalls. Please use the "Contact" form on the left. Or call : four-four-nine- one- seven-eight-nine. Thanks!

Arrrgghhhhhhh....Microsoft, what are you doing now?


Don't panic yet. 

MS has just announced that there will be a #7.00/month "subscription" fee to use Windows 10. In other words, in a few years, if you want to use a PC, you must pay a monthly fee, on top of your cable bill.

The good news -so far - is that this fee only applies to the "Enterprise" (Business) edition of Windows 10. However, one never knows what the future holds.

So, since the July 29th cut-off date for the free Win 10 upgrade is rapidly creeping up on us, it might not be  bad idea to upgrade now, then do the "Roll Back" feature to go back to the previous version of Windows, within 30 days. However, do be warned that you should first back up your files. And this process might take you the batter part of a day, so have another computer, tablet, etc handy.

You can do that here:

If you have installed any Win 10-Protection apps like "GWX Control Panel", then you might have to open up that app and tell it to allow the upgrade.

Then, if you still do not want windows 10, you can do THIS to roll it back.

I can't be positive that MS will give you Win 10 for free if you decide to upgrade again, but this is what they advertised previously.

I suggest you get that in writing....


June, 2016      Facebook strikes again. (Gotta watch that click bait)

If you are surfing along and a big orange page pops up, telling you to download and install an "Urgent" Firefox patch, then ignore it.

For the record, I did scan this download with both Panda Pro and Malwarebytes; they both detected nothing, on June 26, 2016. But this file has been flagged, and I have never had Firefox so classlessly scream in my face like this.



Microsoft has done it again. They are now emulating the biggest and baddest malware makers by foisting the Windows 10 upgrade on unsuspecting and unwilling consumers. When it offers the upgrade, it sends that same annoying popup. But when the user clicks the "X" button in the corner to close the popup, this is a signal for Microsoft actually to install Windows 10.

If you have been thus sucker-punched, then fear not; it can be fixed. (Not a bad idea to back up all your files first...). You have 30 days to do this, and make sure that you have a few free hours in which you won't be needing your computer. Here's what to do:

1.  Click the START button

2.  Click SETTINGS

3.  Click the UPDATE and SECURITY icon - usually bottom left.

4.  Select RECOVERY

5.  You should see an option that says: "Go back to Windows 7 or 8. 

6.  Click "GET STARTED",  and follow the prompts.

(It will probably ask for a reason you have thwarted this home invasion; none of the options include any strong language, alas, so just tell them that you don't like it, and off you go.)

The good news:

According to Microsoft, now that you have installed Windows 10 once, it will henceforth be free to you, even after July 29.



Hutchins Computer Repair is a different kind of PC repair business. I fix PC's on the side, in my spare time, but this doesn't mean that I'm not qualified. My work is guaranteed, and if I can't fix it, you don't pay.

I'm focused on providing fast, high-quality service and customer satisfaction - and for the best prices around...  currently, $50 cash - $60 check - for a complete virus/malware removal/tuneup. (Take $10 off for seniors and students). And I'll even barter---can you carpent, garden, shovel, plow?

(A complete backup and re-install, laptop fan or DC Jack replacement - if not soldered - would be a bit more...)

Call me anytime for a free consultation. 207.449.1789. It might be something very simple to fix.

I'll also set things up for you so that you can keep things running right, and not have to bring the computer back to me.

Check out the "Helpful Hints" page for some interesting  tips.  And there are even more words to the wise on the "Updates/News" page.

If you have any questions/comments, please contact me (207.449.1789); your problem might be something very easy to fix, even over the phone -  for free. 
I hope to see you again. Come back later for new updates to the website.

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