Recycling Assistance Provided

Do you maintain your lawn? Do you clean your house? Trash is picked up at curb? But what about those old electronics?

B. A. Computer Services will assist you in recycling most electronic equipment free of charge with your paid service agreement2. You may bring your equipment to our service center or you may set the equipment in an accessible entry way for loading with paid repair of your current computer system. Limitations apply1.

1Recycling pickup is a courtesy service for paid customers. Limitations include the right to refuse any type or quantity of equipment. Items known to be non-recyclable are:

  • Televisions
  • Kitchen electronics, toasters, makers, appliances
  • Large commercial speakers
  • Kitchen or Laundry Appliances
  • Floor-model (self-standing) copiers or printers
  • Large servers
  • Ordinary Alkaline and non-rechargeable lithium batteries
  • Smoke detectors
  • Lamps or bulbsCommercial quantities (more than 10 per pickup)

2You may pay our minimum $35 service fee if you want equipment pickup without computer repair.

Upgrade Windows 10 to Windows 10?

Windows 10, version 1809 (Enterprise, Education, IoT Enterprise)
Windows 10, version 1909 (Home and Pro)
Windows Server, version 1909 (Datacenter, Standard)
May 11, 2021
Windows 10 Versions Expire

The title isn’t a typo–Windows 10 must be upgraded to… Windows 10. In truth Microsoft has elected to not rebrand it’s Windows Operating System yet, but is in fact pouring out major updates. The table above shows which “versions” of Windows 10 will be expired early next year. In addition, these previous “versions” of Windows 10 are already expiring: Windows 10, versions 1507, 1511, 1607, 1703, 1709, 1803, 1809, 1903, and 1909.

The upgrade process from one of these older versions of Windows 10 to the newest 2004 (a version number, not a year!) feature release is daunting over slow or unreliable Internet connections. Some machines have been known to require more than 24 hours and multiple reboots to accomplish the final result. B. A. Computer Services is here to help in East Texas with our very-high-speed Internet to remove the headache from this process.

See Also

SSD vs HDD Recoverability

The new solid state drives are currently lauded as better than the traditional hard drives. In plain English, here is what consumers need to know.

For non-technical people, HDD is Hard Disk Drive, and has been used in computers for decades. It has a spinning platter and needle arm much like that of an old record player except all the information is written magnetically. Like any electronic instrument, if you drop this device, it is likely to break, skip data, scratch the platter, or something unsavory of this sort. There is nothing particularly technical about that.

An SSD is Solid State Drive and works much the same way as these new flash or thumb drive keys work. There are no moving parts. Instead, data is stored in tiny electronic switches that remember their position even when there is no power to the device. SSDs are both faster and generally more expensive than traditional HDDs. They may be ideal for certain applications that require higher speeds and robustness from vibration or drops. They are not however good for all applications.

The biggest concern we have with SSDs here at B.A. C.S. is their inability to recover from disk faults. The nature of an SSD’s method of storage makes them much more susceptible to immediate and unrecoverable loss of data and performance issues over time. We have done some research and are including a few quotes from engineers around the world:

[D]espite their performance advantages, SSDs only have a 10% market share compared to HDDs for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, they’re expensive. HDDs today average around 3-4 cents per GB, compared to 25-30 cents for SSDs. Dec 7, 2018 June 2019

… SSDs are quirky little devices that get slower as they fill up. And eventually, the flash cells reach a state where they can no longer complete write operations at all. June 2019

SSDs have a different and bigger problem – SSDs can only write to empty blocks. That’s okay when the SSD is new and all the blocks are empty. But over time, as blocks get filled up, overwriting data becomes an issue, because the only way an SSD can update an existing page is to copy the contents of the entire block into memory, erase the block and then write the contents of the old block in addition to the new data. If there are no empty blocks available, the SSD must scan for blocks marked for deletion, but not yet deleted, erase them, and then write the data to the now-erased page. Over time, as the SSD fills up, writing to the drive becomes more complicated and slower. June 2019

At B.A.C.S. we are of the opinion traditional HDDs are safer for data storage in the long run than SSDs and that safe data is the highest priority. However as with any storage device, we strongly recommend full backup of your data to another device. ANY single storage device can be corrupted and the best way to avoid total data loss is to duplicate the disk to a second or third device designed for long-term storage. B.A. C.S. offers the unique option of completely imaging your disk to another disk so that if you do lose your drive for whatever reason, an exact duplicate of the drive can be recovered to a brand new drive. The new drive will boot and act exactly like the old one: absolutely nothing lost (except whatever you added since last duplicating the drive). This method is also very private as it keeps all data in your possession alone. Cost is merely that of the new drive and the duplication effort (which requires special attention and drive removal in many cases.)

Why Slow Internet Hangs Your Computer

In sequel to Byte Size Matters article, a frequent occurrence of Microsoft computers on slow network connections in rural areas is the partial updates that attempt to download (unsuccessfully), eventually resulting in a frustrating slow or corrupt computer system.

There may be a number of good reasons your computer has deteriorated.  A virus sweep is always warranted, but this isn’t viral-related at all.   The problem has more to do with the behemoth operating system updates Microsoft sends out, and its policy to automatically set updates to auto-download.  While that policy might be effective for a company with computers on a fast Internet connection, on a slow connection, it is a terrible policy.

The scale of fast versus slow is not easily recognized with smaller downloads of say under 100Mb.  A connection that allows “Up to 3Mb per second” may run an average of 1-2 Mbs.  If on a good day it runs 2Mbs, theoretically, a 100Mb file downloads in 50 seconds.   In reality, several seconds are taken to begin the download, and it may temporarily stall, so realistically it is still a reasonable 1-3 minute download.  But lets talk about a bigger chunk of data – a movie for example, or an entire Microsoft operating system update, of a sum of about 1 Gb (over 1000 Mb).  So basically 1-3 minutes turns into 10 to 30 minutes over a slow connection!

YOUR Internet speed isn’t the only factor.    Even if YOUR Internet speed is ultra-high speed, if the website from which you wish to receive data is slow, you will see slow downloads. In the case of Microsoft, it is reasonable to expect sufficient bandwidth from their update servers at non-peak times.  So a difference in Internet speed from 1-3 Mbs to a faster 25 Mbs could be very significant.  If it takes 100 minutes at 1 Mbs, then at 25Mbs it should only take a very reasonable wait of 4 minutes or so.  Thus it is all about scale.  As humans we often encounter situations where a 10-20 minutes waits is acceptable, but much longer sends us walking elsewhere.  In fact, doing Microsoft updates over a slow Internet connection is much like wading through metroplex traffic during rush hour(s).  The chances of vehicle breakdown is extremely high–just as high as the chances your update will not succeed and your computer will choke on the unsuccessful attempts.

Our recommendation:  Let a computer shop do the updates for you. A good shop will have the updates already downloaded, or will have a high speed connection where they can get them many times faster than you can.

Byte Size Matters

How much drive space a computer needs is relative to one’s lifestyle practices. For most people, a few hundred Gigabytes of storage will last the life of the computer, which is about 10 years.  (If you hear about Gibibytes, it is technically a more accurate measure of drive size because it is based on the binary that computers actually use rather that the Gigabyte which is equal to exactly 1,000,000,000 bytes.)  So how big is a Gig or Gib?  Well that would be one thousand millions.  Now a million dollars might last 10 years if you were conservative with it in today’s economy, but a thousand millions would certainly tide you and your grandchildren over into the next centuries.

A typical digital photograph runs around 1 megabyte = 1000 KB.   Now suppose you took 100 pictures a day and stored them on your computer. How long before you used up a 500 Gigabyte drive?   Well first, lets subtract about 100 Gigabytes for the operating system and other stuff you already have on the drive.  So now we are down to 400 GB free. Converted, that equals about 400, 000 MB.  So if each picture is 1 MB, and you take 100 a day, that would be 100 MB a day. Dividing 400,000 MB by 100 MB/day gives 4,000 days, or further divided by 365 days/year gives almost 11 years of use.  Now, what are the chances you are actually going to store 100 pictures every-single day for the next 11 years?

How about videos?  The standard 4.7 GB DVD on which many movies still come today store about 2 hours of movie plus a few previews and trailers.  For ease of computation we will round up to 5 GB and say 5 GB equals about 2 hours video.  How many hours video will 400 GB hold?  400/5 = 80 x 2 hours = 160 hours or about a week’s worth of video if you wanted to watch videos 24 hours a day for a solid week.  Our previous daily picture example yielded about 11 years of use, while storing one video each day will allow about 80 days of watching or almost 3 months of videos every-single day.  In all likelihood, the average person would only watch one or two full-length movies each week or less on average.  Thus the storage space would be sufficient for a number of years of use.


For most people today 500 GB of drive space is more than enough.  Like a large filing cabinet, oversizing it will just leave room for clutter that gets forever lost and forgotten.  A professional cinematographer may desire a larger drive, such as the Tera-byte drive = 1,000 Gigabytes, which is twice the size of a 500 GB drive.  Larger drives may be more prone to failure, primarily because more platters must be squeezed into a small space, and thus more heat is generated, more mechanics for failure, and so on. Bigger simply isn’t always better when it comes to drive sizes.  A good average size is best, with redundancy of drives.

B.A. Computer Services can assist you in drive replacements, drive arrays, and other disk storage needs.  Call us now at 903-243-9588.

Yikes! Drive Failed Options

There are several basic scenarios when evaluating your drive problem.
Under normal operating conditions, it is rare that a drive’s physical mechanisms fail so badly the data cannot be recovered. Before assuming drive is physically bad, use the operating system drive tool to see whether the drive is still recognized. If it is, then likely, it is a file system corruption problem rather than a hardware failure. BACS can assist you with both types of problems.

When System Will Not Boot.

1. One check to see whether your drive is still physically operational is to view whether it appears in the system BIOS startup screen before the operating system attempts to boot. You may need to press F2, F10, ESC, or some other key combination unique to your computer model at the very moment it powers up to access the BIOS screens.  If you do succeed in accessing data through use of a rescue startup disk or other method, immediately transfer your data to a backup medium such as an external USB drive before further failure prevents data recovery.

2. In the event of a drive hardware failure, two basic repair scenarios exist:

2a. The drive controller electronics have gone bad. This might be electrical surge burnout or other failure. It also may not be the drive at all, but the disk controller on your motherboard. One way to check is to plug in a different drive and see if it is recognized in the bios screen. If you are not familiar with computer repair, we highly recommend bringing it in for basic service. Drive controller boards (PCBs) can be replaced without breaking the drive seals, but some PCBs have memory chips that must match the drive serial data and may need to be physically transplanted from the old board.

2b. The drive heads or motor have gone bad, or have frozen to plate. Bad heads can cause further damage to the disc plate. If drive spins up, but data cannot be read, turn computer off immediately and have it serviced. This would especially be true if drive or computer has been dropped or otherwise impacted suddenly. If drive fails to spin at all, the motor may be bad. In either case in 2b, the seal on the drive itself must be broken for repairs, and doing so requires special equipment to prevent damage to the sensitive drive platters. Data recovery on this type of repair is best submitted to a data recovery professional.  Expect to pay $500 or more for this type of data recovery.

In all of these scenarios, drive error failure means it is time to replace the hard drive.  That process involves multiple time-consuming steps.  In some cases it is both logically and legally possible to move everything to a new drive including the operating system and all of your data files.  If drive has failed miserably however, a rescue of only your data may be your best option, while the new drive is freshly installed with a complete new copy of an operating system of your choice.  Depending on the licenses that came with your computer, if you desire to use Microsoft Windows it may require purchase of a new operating system license .  Other operating systems are possible that do not require license purchase. The cost for replacing a hard drive that is still readily accessible can be as low as $89 plus cost of the new drive itself, not including re-installation of additional programs that were installed after you purchased the computer.

Why DVDs Won’t Play

In short, DVD movies are encrypted by the movie-makers such that special software is required to decipher them.  Older copies of Microsoft Windows® were automatically able to decipher the movies because Microsoft automatically included the software with the operating system licenses. Windows® 8, and 10, and current releases of Linux do not natively have the software necessary to decipher the movies.  What is more, there are now laws that forbid programmers from writing software to decipher or crack the cryptography.  Such software does exist, and its use has not yet been challenged in U.S. courts, but nonetheless, is technically illegal. Cracking encryption is now deemed similar to breaking a lock on a car or house. the end-purpose of the laws being to prevent duplication of the DVDs. (One must be aware that purchase of a DVD movie is not purchase of the entire movie itself, but only a limited license to view the movie on that particular DVD.)

Solutions include:

  1. Buy software that specifically licenses the right to decipher the encryption (around $20);
  2. Use an external DVD or DVD/Blu-ray combo player (which again has been specifically licensed by the manufacturer to decipher the encryption);
  3. Downgrade to Windows® 7 or prior versions (works for most older movie releases, but may fail going forward with newer releases);
  4. A few other odd-ball solutions exist that cannot be recommended with integrity by this author, and can be quite technically difficult to accomplish.

Reference these articles:

The Future of Bluetooth

Personal experience with bluetooth technology has been less than satisfying for many.  Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t.  When it works, it works well. When it doesn’t work, well, it can be real frustrating.  Try out this recent article on one of the major phone manufacturers to see how they may be improving the technology soon.

For the newbies: What is bluetooth?  It is a technology that allows a device such as a mobile phone to be paired with a separate nearby device, usually a speaker or other sound system, to project the audio from your phone to the larger system (or a wire-free headphone set).  Projecting an MP3 collection downloaded to a cell phone, for instance, into an automobile’s speaker systems is one such use.  Hands-free telephone use is another application. For a more technical description,  try this link:

Are Flash Drives Reliable For Backups?

The shortest answer, is, No storage device, whether printout, drive or DVD is immune from the natural elements, that is, from eventual degradation, loss, or destruction.  It is better to calculate the probability of loss versus the value of the data being stored. For example, if a few files from a primary computer are temporarily copied to transport them to another computer, the probability that the files needed will arrive safely to the office is very high, aside from losing the device in the car seat on the way there.  And its a copy–so no permanent loss if lost in transit.

Nonetheless, with respect to the plethora of flash drives on the market today, some are far more reliable than others.  The greatest danger lies in the sheer volume that such a drive can hold, and the fact that any flash drive may suddenly stop working without warning resulting in total loss of the stored data.  The better manufacturers do extensive tests on these devices, so the chance of failure may be very low, but never zero. Therefore, the best guarantee against loss is duplicate drives, whether flash drives or ordinary drives.  Simply said, never rely on a single drive to store data for long-term.  Use two or more drives to store the same data and then store the drives themselves in different locations to insure against fire or theft.  In choosing physical storage location however, consider that the usefulness of  archived data  ages with time, so backups for current operations must be continually updated.  Thus, the drives must be reasonably accessible for periodic update.

Probability of failure: Suppose a newly purchased 128GB drive is used to backup all your computer documents, and that the probability the drive would suddenly fail this year is .01%.  If an identical second drive is purchased, and the same data duplicated to it, its probability of failure would also be .01%.  But the likelihood that BOTH drives would fail at the same time — very unlikely (yet not impossible, especially if both drives purchased at the same time from same lot of manufacturing).  The likelihood BOTH drives stored in the same location could be destroyed, lost,  or stolen is much more likely, but this isn’t a function of the drive reliability.

In any case, use of flash drives for long term storage of critical data is generally discouraged because the nature of such drives is that if PHYSICALLY damaged, it is essentially impossible to retrieve the data.   In contrast, if a hard drive mechanism fails, it usually can be physically repaired and data fully recovered.  The size of hard drives is also such that they are generally not carried around in one’s pocket.  For practical reasons, a drive sitting safely on a desk is much more secure than a flash drive subject to all sorts of elements from baby slobber to melting in one’s car.

To read more, see this article.

I have Wifi on phone, but why can’t I print?

This is a great question. Numerous factors are involved here. There are two components to wi-fi software, a client, and a server. Most phones come free with wi-fi client capabilities, that is, the phone itself has the capability, even without a cellular phone plan, to connect to a publicly available wi-fi connection, such as at a public library. Pads, and most laptops come with similar built-in wi-fi network cards. This is the client-side use of wi-fi.

Wi-fi capable printers are also wi-fi clients. Every client must be able to connect to a wi-fi server in order to communicate with other clients also connected to the same server. In other words, even though there are no wires, the invisible wire-less connections still have to be made to the single point of contact–the server router. That server router is like an old-fashioned telephone operator who plugs this call into that call so the two can communicate, and if the device is already communicating to someone else, tells the third caller to wait because the line is busy.

A cellular “hot-spot” is simply a miniature wi-fi server/router.  Most cellular companies charge a fee for this service, because it effectively turns your cellular phone into an Internet router service provider (expensive for airwave use). With home or office Internet services, turning your phone into a hot-spot wi-fi (server) is generally unnecessary. Within an office environment on wi-fi, a cell phone hot-spot is the MOST expensive and temporary way to go. The most effective method is to setup a private wi-fi network, and connect all your devices to it. Use your phone as a wi-fi client to connect to the wi-fi box, and save some dollars by eliminating the wi-fi hot-spot function of your phone.

Even so, once a wi-fi router server is in place, still a number of settings must be correctly configured to get everything talking the same language.  Call BA’s 903 243-9588 for an appointment and we will evaluate and resolve your need*.

*Conditional on your devices’ capabilities.  Printers that are not directly wi-fi compatible can be used with proper configuration.