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Frequently Asked Questions

Below are common questions we get from customers. Sometimes simple computer problems can be solved by checking cable connections or restarting your computer. Be sure to note any error messages you receive before calling our tech support to help us quickly diagnose your problem.


 General questions:


01. What makes 4Star different from other computer repair shops?


02. What brands of personal computers do you service?


03. Do you service Apple computers?


04. Do you service printers and monitors?


05. How much will it cost to fix my computer?


06. Is work done by 4Star warranted?


07. I want to build a website, can 4Star help me?


08. I recently purchased a new computer, can 4Star help me set it up?


09.  How should I protect my children from harmful material on the Internet?


10. I have two computers. One is connected to the Internet using my cable modem. Can I share the connection so that both computers have broadband access?


  Computer Problems:


01. Turned on my computer, there are no lights, no fans spinning, nothing. What did I do?


02. My computer is running slow, what can I do to fix it?


03. I think I have a virus, what do I do?


04. How do I stop pop-up ads?         


05. Windows keeps restarting without warning. Why?


06. I keep getting "illegal operations". What is wrong?


07. Why are some of my Windows programs "freezing" and not responding?   


08. My hard drive light is always blinking, even when I'm not doing anything. Why?  


09. Obscene sites have appeared in my Favorites. Icons have appeared on my desktop that I don't recognize. I'm getting pop-ups even when I'm not connected to the Internet. What's happening?     

10. I installed SP2 on my XP system, and now I'm having many problems. What do I do?



What makes 4Star different from other computer repair shops?     


4Star is different from other computer repair shops in that we provide the most complete      computer service in the Pittsburgh area. Our methods are proven and carried out by certified professionals. Our policy is to find the most cost-effective solution for our customers, and to implement that solution to the customer's complete satisfaction. We explain things and      follow up with all work performed. Our customers are never confused or in the dark as to      what is being done. We are also the only computer shop in the area who offers a "Virtual      Help Desk". Click here to learn more.  


What brands of personal computers do you service?


We service all makes and models. We also service custom "white box" pcs. 



Do you service Apple computers?     


We service all Apple products.



Do you service printers and monitors?


We can troubleshoot your printer and service common printer problems such as paper jams,     paper-feed problems, ink and toner errors, software and driver problems. Most times it is more cost effective to replace a printer with a major repair issue. We can assess your situation and if a repair is feasible, we can recommend an authorized repair depot. We do not service monitors, however, we can troubleshoot to assess whether your monitor needs replaced.



How much will it cost to fix my computer?


Each customer's situation is unique, but our policy is to provide you with the most cost effective solution while providing exceptional repair service. We offer various discounts also.



Is work done by 4Star warranted?


Yes. We guarantee the work that was performed as shown on our invoices. If we install a new hardware item, the installation and component are warranted to be free of defects for 30 days. Most parts we install do carry longer warranties also. Examples of warranty situations: If your hard drive was working when you brought your machine to us for an installation of a new modem, but quits ten days after you picked up your computer, your hard drive is not covered by our warranty. If we install an anti-virus application, update the application, and run a full system scan; the system is guaranteed to be virus free when it leaves the shop. If you fail to keep your virus definitions updated regularly and your system becomes infected with a virus, the subsequent infection is not covered by our warranty. If we re-format your hard drive and re-install the operating system, we guarantee the installation. Following installation, if you delete a critical system file or install new software that corrupts your operating system, the warranty is void. We guarantee our work. We do not provide a guarantee that your computer will remain healthy indefinitely.


I want to build a website, can 4Star help me?


Yes, we most certainly can. Although we are a computer repair shop, we also offer services     in computer consulting, computer networking, and web design. Call us (724) 417-0421 or     email us to schedule an appointment to assess your needs.



I recently purchased a new computer, can 4Star help me set it up?


Yes. Whatever system set-up you are facing, 4Star can help you get up and running quickly.   From simple single user computers to complex multi-user networks, we offer cutting edge and cost effective solutions for all types of residential and business needs.



How should I protect my children from harmful material on the Internet?


Some web pages and content on the Internet are not suitable for children. Below is a listing of different steps you can take to help ensure your children and your computer are protected from harmful material or web pages.

1. Talk to your children about the dangers of the Internet and what they should not do while on the Internet. Many times computers also develop problems from children surfing the     Internet, clicking on links, downloading web pages and files, and generally being ignorant to the fact that malicious viruses and spyware are being downloaded to the family computer. Below is a basic listing of what you may consider discussing with your children as it relates to your family's computer.

Personal Information - Never give personal information about yourself in chat rooms or   online forms. This includes age, area code, e-mail address, home address, home city, Internet Service Provider name, Instant Messenger name or address, other location related information, passwords, personal web page, phone numbers, pictures of yourself, school name, school    grade, school web page, webcam address, and/or zip code.

Never meet someone - Never agree to meet an individual from the Internet without the     parents or guardian with you at the agreed meeting location.   

Internet Purchases - Never enter an area that costs money, requires a credit card, requires  personal information, asks for passwords, and/or requires you hang up and dial another number with your computer without explicit permission from your parents or your parent present.

Downloads - Never accept a file or download from another user that you do not know.     

Web pages - Do not visit web pages that are sent to you in e-mail, chat, or instant messengers without your parent or guardian present.     

Talk - If your child ever witnesses something that upsets them or makes them feel uncomfortable make sure they know its ok to talk with you.

2. Monitor or browse the Internet with your kids and/or try to keep the computer in an area that is in a open area. 

3. Make sure you child is not viewing any web pages they should not be viewing by looking at the Internet browser's history and/or make sure they are not deleting the history in order to hide what they are viewing. 

 4. Look at the browser address bar or location bar for additional information about what was typed in the browser address bar. 


5. If your computer has an Instant Messenger program make sure that their friend list or buddy list doesn't have anyone you do not know of.

6. Users using Microsoft Internet Explorer can help protect their family from harmful material by enabling Internet Explorer Content Advisor. 

7. Consider a third party filtering program that will help protect your computer from inappropriate sites. We recommend Cybersitter from Solid Oak Software. Their website has an online scanner to help you determine if there is objectionable content already on your computer.


Lastly, if you're still worried about the dangers of the Internet, how it affects your children or your family's computer, contact us to discuss possible solutions. We can create a plan to suite the needs of you and your family.




I have two computers. One is connected to the Internet using my cable modem. Can I share the connection so that both computers have broadband access?


Yes. You can not only share your internet connection, but also your files, games, and printers by setting up a home network. Whether you want to set up a simple "peer-to-peer" or complex network involving more than two computers wirelessly on all floors of your house, 4Star has many solutions to get your network up and running. Call us or send us a service request to schedule an appointment for a technician to evaluate your location.



Turned on my computer, there are no lights, no fans spinning, nothing. What did I do?


No power from the computer can be caused by any of the following possibilities.

1. Connections not connected properly.
2. Third-party hardware.
3. Bad power cable.
4. Incorrect power supply.
5. Bad battery.
6. Bad power supply, power button, and/or power board or inverter.


     Call us (724) 417-0421 or send our techs a request


My computer is running slow, what can I do to fix it?


This issue can be caused by any of the following possibilities:

1. Hard disk drive is short on available disk space.

2. Several software programs have been installed/uninstalled leaving behind bad files and/or  confusing the software.

3. Data corruption.

4. Bad hardware.

5. Viruses and/or Spyware.

6. Start-up/Process problems.    

7. Insufficient/overused RAM.


Our Maintenance Packages (Basic and Pro) are the best solutions for a slow running computer. We implement a multi-point inspection of your computer, optimize Windows, and recommend any upgrades or software that will keep your computer running at peak performance. We also can program and/or set up a maintenance plan to ensure that your computer will stay healthy.

     See our Services for page for for more info  



I think I have a virus, what do I do?


Unless you are an experienced computer user, in all honesty, call us to diagnose your system for a possible virus infection. We at 4Star know virus removal. Many times computer users can cause more damage to their systems by trying to remove viruses themselves. After removing the virus, trojan, or worm from your system, we also make sure you are updated and educated for future infections. Don't hesitate to call us for advise about viruses or any of your computer related concerns. Our advise is always free.



How do I stop pop-up ads?


Popups can install spyware, viruses and other malicious code with or without the your permission. Popups can continue to install their spyware even after the user has clicked "Cancel" or "no" within the popup window. We encourage computer users to click the "x" at the top right corner of popup windows. To eliminate popups, do one of the following: install blocker software (we recommend Popup Stopper), if you use Internet Explorer install a free "toolbar" that includes a popup blocker (we recommend the Google Toolbar), or switch browsers to Netscape or Firefox (both have built-in popup blockers). If you are getting popups all the time, even when you're not on the internet, you have spyware running on your computer. Call us for a quick removal and education of how to stay protected from spyware.



Windows keeps restarting without warning. Why?


This issue could be caused by any of the below possibilities:

1. Software issue or error.
2. Hardware issue or error.
3. Heat related issue.
4. Computer virus.
5. Issue with operating system.

If your operating system is Windows XP, it is designed to automatically reboot each time an error occurs. Although this may be nice for errors that do not occur often, to troubleshoot the error this feature must be disabled and then re-enabled. You can do this before calling us to assess what might be causing the error.

     1. From the desktop right click on My Computer. (if you are in Classic Mode)
     2. Click the Properties option.
     3. In the System Properties window then click the Advanced tab.
     4. In Advanced, click the Settings button under Startup and Recovery.
     5. In the Startup and Recovery window uncheck the "Automatically Restart" check box.
     6. Click Ok.



I keep getting "illegal operations". What is wrong?

An Illegal Operation is an operation requested to be performed by either the Operating System or CPU that is not understood and therefore is "Illegal". Illegal Operations can be caused by several different factors. The following is a listing of the more commonly known reasons:

1. TSR's or Third party programs causing memory conflicts or other types of conflicts with the program or programs attempting to be run.

2. Data not being read properly from source. Running a program or game with a dirty CD can cause the CD to be read improperly causing Illegal Operations. Floppy diskettes which may contain errors can cause illegal operations.

3. Installing a program or game on a hard disk drive that has errors or that is highly fragmented.

4. Corrupt files.

5. Memory managers.

6. Bad, incorrect, or out of date video drivers.

7. Computer Virus.

8. Added hardware

9. Error in program coding

10. Corruption or problem within Windows.

11. Bad Memory, invalid bits, or physically bad memory.


Be sure to write down all information described in error messages and illegal operation messages before calling us. This helps in the troubleshooting process. For an illegal operation, you might have to click the "details" button to see what went wrong.



Why are some of my Windows programs "freezing" and not responding?


A computer, operating system, software program, or driver may stop responding or cause other programs to stop responding because of several possible reasons.

1. Software conflict 

2. Hardware conflict

3. Lack of system resources

4. A "bug" or flaw in the software or drivers.

To recover from a program that has stopped responding a user can generally press the CTRL +ALT + DEL keys on the keyboard to open the "Close Program" window or open the "Task Manager" window and click the "End Task" button to terminate the program. If another window opens, click the "End Task" button again to confirm stopping that program.  It is important to realize that when a program stops responding any work that has not been saved will more than likely be lost when end tasking a program. 



My hard drive light is always blinking, even when I'm not doing anything. Why?


If you are running Windows95, first it is definitely time to upgrade your operating system, and second Windows was polling your CD-ROM drive to see whether you had inserted a new CD. Some computers wired up the "hard drive light" not to the hard drive but rather to the SCSI and/or IDE bus. So the light didn't indicate hard drive activity necessarily. It turned on for any bus activity. Fortunately, motherboard manufacturers discovered their mistake and nowadays you don't find any of them that are wired this way.

If you are running 98, XP, 2000, or the NT line, it could be a few things:

1. The IndexServer indexing your drive's content.

2. The VMM walking through your pagefile taking dead pages and writing zeroes to them for security and perf. reasons.

3. XP also performs some idle-time disk optimization using the Prefetch information.

4. It could also possibly spyware or running processes.

If you haven't optimized your computer recently, call us to set up an appointment to return it to peak performance.



Obscene sites have appeared in my Favorites. Icons have appeared on my desktop that I don't recognize. I'm getting pop-ups even when I'm not connected to the Internet. What's happening?  


It's spyware hijacking your system. Left to do it's business, spyware can not only slow down your system, but also open it up to more infection, and in some cases cause your computer to completely fail. Call us to set up a spyware removal appointment. We can also setup software on your system to keep spyware off your computer in the future.




I installed SP2 on my XP system, and now I'm having many problems. What do I do?


Although the benefits of installing Service Pack2 for Windows XP include:

1. Windows Firewall is turned on by default. Although this was intended to be a leading feature in XP and Service Pack2, it is still vulnerable. We recommend disabling it entirely and installing a third-party firewall.

2. Windows Security Center, which is a centralized management console for you computer security settings. In this console you can monitor the firewall status, Automatic Update settings, and virus protection.

3. Internet Explorer Enhancements, which include a popup blocker, information bar, and add-on manager.

4. New Wireless LAN Client, which includes a new user-interface and an updated wireless networking infrastructure to enable easier setup and management of wireless connections.

 Many problems occur as a result of installing Service Pack2, which include:

1. Various software issues causing incompatibility and error messages.

2. Computer stops responding (hangs) when you restart to complete the installation of Windows XP SP 2. This issue occurs on a limited number of systems that use a version of basic input/output system (BIOS) that does not have production support for Intel Pentium 4 and Intel Celeron D processors based on the Prescott C-0 stepping.

3. After installing Windows XP SP2, you receive a "Stop: c0000135" and "winsrv was not found" error message and your computer repeatedly restarts.

4. SP2 contains a Driver Protection feature that helps protect operating system stability by preventing the operating system from loading drivers that are known to cause stability problems.

5. Port vulnerability that the firewall does not recognize.

In order to benefit from the features of Service Pack2, we recommend letting a professional do the install. Some steps have to be taken to prepare your computer for the install, and we offer a convenient installation package.  



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